Outgoing National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Robert Sachs said 2004 was a strong year for growth in digital cable and other advanced services.
At his final year-end wrapup briefing as NCTA chief, Sachs noted an improving economy boosted the rollout of advanced services such as video-on-demand, HDTV and voice-over-Internet Protocol telephony.
“That’s led to our $95 billion capital investment over the past eight years to provide digital broadband services to customers,” Sachs said. “The achievements of 2004 – and particularly the new rollouts of HDTV, video-on-demand and voice-over-Internet Protocol – are the latest examples of cable’s strengths in a very competitive telecommunications marketplace.”
NCTA predicts that by the end of this year, more than 91 percent of homes will be passed by upgraded fiber-optic cable networks. Digital cable customer numbers rose 13 percent in 2004 to 25 million, while cable modem subscribers totaled 20 million, up 24 percent from 2003.
While cable telephony has seen relatively flat subscriber numbers in the past few years, it is now expected to reach 3 million by the end of 2004, largely fueled by the introduction of VoIP service.
Sachs also noted developments in 2005 that could significantly impact the cable and telecommunications market include a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the regulatory classification of cable modem service and possible FCC and Congressional action regarding the digital TV transition, as well as an expected review of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.